SEATTLE -- While most teams traditionally wait until near the non-waiver Trade Deadline to make moves, a Mariners team off to one of its best starts in franchise history will add reinforcements this Memorial Day weekend as newcomers Alex Colome and Denard Span arrive from Tampa Bay.Colome flew to Seattle
SEATTLE -- While most teams traditionally wait until near the non-waiver Trade Deadline to make moves, a Mariners team off to one of its best starts in franchise history will add reinforcements this Memorial Day weekend as newcomers Alex Colome and Denard Span arrive from Tampa Bay.
Colome flew to Seattle on Saturday and the closer will be available in the bullpen for Sunday's series finale with the Twins, while Span finished up some family business and is expected to arrive in time to play left field in Monday afternoon's series opener with the Rangers.
Both players had to wrap things up in Florida before journeying to the Northwest.
"Denard is from Tampa," manager Scott Servais said. "His family and everybody is down there. It's about as far as you can go from Tampa up here to Seattle. We're looking forward to getting him here, and he'll be a great addition to our team. Our players are excited about adding those two guys. When they get here, we'll plug them right in."
The new arrivals will be well received in Seattle's clubhouse as the Mariners welcome reinforcements to a team that has lost Robinson Cano to an 80-game suspension and dealt with a number of injuries while still getting off to a 30-20 start.
Players were bolstered by the front office's willingness to move quickly to fill obvious needs.
"They're in it to win it this year and so are we," said James Paxton, who has played a big part in the early success. "We feel like we have a good ballclub here and those two guys can help us."
Veteran designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been a part of four postseason clubs with the Rangers and Orioles, including World Series appearances with Texas in 2010 and '11. He welcomed the additions with open arms.
"With Colome coming, it's definitely going to be a plus for the bullpen," Cruz said. "And Span will help the offense get going. It seems like we've got three closers now. It gives you more leverage for Scott to go out and put guys in tough situations and put up zeros."
Edwin Diaz has been outstanding in the first two months with an American League-leading 18 saves and a 1.71 ERA, so he'll remain the closer. Colome, who saved an MLB-leading 47 games last season for the Rays, will work as a setup man, along with Juan Nicasio and Nick Vincent, and also be able to step in for Diaz should he start to get overworked.
The 24-year-old Diaz figures it's another weapon for the Mariners and another mentor. Diaz has already leaned heavily on the veteran Nicasio.
"I'm happy because he can help us in the bullpen," Diaz said. "We have a great bullpen now with him and when he gets here, I'll try to have fun with him and learn from him a lot. I'm just trying to improve my routine every time and trying to learn how to pitch in the ninth. He's one of the best closers the last three years and I'll just try to do the same things as him."
• Dee Gordon fielded ground balls at second base and took batting practice prior to Saturday's game, and was moving well on the fractured right toe that landed him on the 10-day disabled list Monday. Gordon appears on target to return when eligible Thursday.
"Dee is feeling much better. He's getting louder, talking more," Servais said with a smile. "He's definitely feeling more comfortable."
• Veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is progressing again with his throwing program after being shut down four weeks ago when arm issues cropped up during his recovery from September shoulder surgery. The 37-year-old is rehabbing on a Minor League contract, but working out daily with the club.
"He had a really good bullpen [Friday]," Servais said. "I think he'll throw to hitters on Tuesday in a live BP. That'll be another big step for him. I know he really dialed it up, throwing all his pitches, and [pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.] was very encouraged by it. Now you have to create some more volume on top of it and see where it goes from there. But he's moving in the right direction again."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.